Published: 00:01, 07 September 2014
Detectorists have confronted Whitstable Oyster bosses over a ban on metal detectors which has seen enthusiasts banished from the beach.
The famous Whitstable firm has placed a sign on the beach, prohibiting detectors after claiming it damaged oyster growing activities.
In a letter from director Richard Green explaining the move, he states the removal of historical artifacts would be treated as theft.
It reads: “This year, increased metal detecting activity on Whitstable beach has hampered oyster growing activities.
“For this reason we do not permit metal detecting on the foreshore.”
His dad Barrie Green added: “People have been using metal detectors on our property without asking for our permission. That is the reason we had to do it.
“If it was a respectable body of people doing an archaeological survey then we would co-operate, but often you get 20 people out there with metal detectors and you don’t know who they are. If we are asked permission then we can control it.
“At its worst, people are finding coins and taking them away with them, which is theft.
“We don’t know what damage they’re causing from an archaeological point of view and to the oysters.”
But detectorists have challenged the decision, labelling it as “silly” as two senior members of the Medway History Finders arrived in Whitstable yesterday to confront Mr Green’s son Richard at the restaurant in Horsebridge Road.
Chairman Pete Clarke and vice-chairman Kevin Reader say Mr Green threatened to call the police if they continued to detect on the private beach.
Mr Clark says the row started after a number of large pits appeared on the beach which cause problems for quad bikes used to farm oysters.
But he denied detectorists were behind the holes.
Mr Clarke said: “We are being blamed for the damaged caused by baitdiggers.
“My members have been detecting down there for 30 years and they know where they can and cannot go. We don’t go anywhere near the oyster beds.
“If they are worried about holes on the beach, maybe they should ban children from going down there with their bucket and spade.
“I have never heard anything like this in all my life. It’s all a bit silly.”
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